This is a blog for the Durango 2nd Ward Book Club.  Anyone can be in the club and anyone can post comments.  With our busy lives, we decided to try a virtual book club meeting here in the blogosphere!  Thanks for coming.

Please post any comments, questions, thoughts, or insights you may have on the books here.  Michelle Gilleland has chosen the books up to this point, but she welcomes any ideas on future picks.  She has posted a little bit about each book and maybe why it was chosen.  Have anything to add? Share your thoughts!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

21 Days Closer to Christ --Emily Freeman

Emily Freeman is a dear friend of John's. I have wanted to do a book by her since we started the book club at the beginning of 2007. Her previous book, the 10 Virgins, isn't long enough to be a book we'd use. When her new book came out I hoped we would be able to do it at some point.
I wasn't planning to start a new book until April when the 2nd quarter begins, but at the first of March I really felt like we needed to do this book before Easter. I quickly ordered a dozen books and my amazing friend Lanae Mann helped me make invitations for all of the sisters in our ward for the book. I got a great response and ordered 20 more books. We began reading the book on March 3rd and finished it 21 days later on Easter Sunday March 24th. This book has beautiful artwork and beautiful stories. Each day our family tried to read the scriptures (we missed a few days!!) that corresponded with each chapter. a great excercise for anyone looking to enhance their personal relationship with the Savior. See Description Here

Monday, April 21, 2008

Return From Tomorrow --George Ritchie

For the first quarter of 2008 I felt impressed to do a book about life after death. This was prompted by visiting with a dear friend of mine. She had recently lost her dad and really was struggling with it. She said she had read a book called The Message by Lance Richardson and had found it to be very comforting. She liked the fact that people who have passed on are very aware of us and are helping us all the time. I like that idea too.

I read The Message, reread Embraced by the Light, started reading a book called 90 minutes in Heaven (yawn) but didn't finish it, then ordered a copy of Return From Tomorrow. It is a book I first read in college and I have always remembered it.

Of course, I settled on RFT. This is a book written by a non-member. Knowing that, I think it makes this book all the more compelling as you read his experience after dying in an army hospital during WWII. His description of the Spirit World is amazing. I was especially struck with the idea that whatever our physical bodies are addicted to in this life is torturous in the next as we no longer have our bodies to experience those things. I think this book is truly a small glimpse of what is going on in the next life.
See Description Here

Jesus the Christ --James Talmage

Jesus the Christ by James Talmage is the absolute gold standard in the LDS church for books about the life of the Savior. It is one of only a handful of books that missionaries are asked to bring with them on their missions to study from. It was written at the beginning of the last century when Elder Talmage was serving as an apostle. He was given a room in the SLC Temple to work on this most special of biographies. There is a mormon urban legend (which I have no way of substantiating :) ) that says Albert Einstein (a contemporary of JT's) was asked what it was like to be the smartest man on earth and he said "I don't know, ask James Talmage." OK-I am pretty sure that is not a true story, but I am sure that the whole 'smartest man alive thing' it is not too far off the mark!! Talmage is certainly one of the most brilliant intellects of the Latter-Day.

This book was chosen because 2007 was the year of study in the New Testament for Gospel Doctrine. A schedule was made up inviting the sisters as well as the Priesthood brethren to study a few chapters a week in order to finish by the end of the year. Julia Martinez, a life long member who had recently returned to activity in our ward, was asked to summarize the chapters for the women in RS every other week. She did an absolutely fantastic job!!!

In Mormon scholarship, no study of the life of the Savior would be complete without reading this book. While it is certainly difficult reading, it is a book that truly will reward the readers with a richer understanding of the life of our Lord.See Description Here

The Christ Commission --Og Mandino

Believing Christ --Stephen Robinson

What can I say about this book? It is truly amazing. One of the goals I had with this book club was to occasionally choose books every member of the church should have in their personal library. This is one of those books. This book is written for the active LDS audience and is a powerful reminder of the infinite reach of the Atonement. We read this book in March 2007 leading up to General Conference and Easter Sunday. Just recently, I was teaching a RS lesson on the Savior (March 2008). It is interesting in Mormon culture how we sometimes focus so much on our works that we forget our complete need for Grace. That is why I love this book. It is a wonderful reminder that no matter who we are, we fall short of perfection and are truly lost without the saving power of the Atonement. While many of us believe IN Christ, we fail to BELIEVE Christ when He promises us He has the power to save us. With this book available in paperback for only $6, there is no reason not to have it. See Description Here

Strangling Your Husband is Not an Option --Merilee Boyack

This book was selected in Feb 2007. Of course because it is a Valentines Day month, I wanted a book to strengthen our relationships. I loved this author's parenting book and decided to give this a read. I found this book to be an easy read with a converstional style. There was a lot of really good, really practical advise. While this book certainly doesn't reinvent the relationship wheel, it does give a fresh, no nonsense look at ideas to strengthen any marriage. I also think Merilee Boyack is pretty dang funny. See Description Here

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Mere Christianity --CS Lewis

CS Lewis was a British author who really became well known during World War II when he did a series of radio shows about religion. What can I say, the guy is SMART! Although not a member of the church, he was so right on with so many gospel principle that it's spooky. Actually, I think it is a testament to the fact that God leads us in truth if we seek it. CS Lewis used to be an athiest and because of this he begins this book with the idea that God indeed exists, and here's the proof. He then goes on to examine what Christians believe and how they behave. My personal favorite is his chapter on Pride. He nails it, and really helps me to take a hard look at myself.
I have to admit, he is not easy to read. He's a lot smarter than me and I think that's why I struggle at times with him. I find that if I read it with a British accent in my head that it's easier to follow (no, seriously!). I think this is an important book because Lewis is one of the most widely read Christian authors on the planet and we should be able to talk with our other Christian friends about him. Over the course of the book club, I am occassionally trying to choose non-LDS authors who are great disciple of Christ. I think CS Lewis is one of these.See Description Here

A Heart Like His --Virginia Pearce

For our first official Book Club selection, I wanted to get a book that was easy to read with a great message. I think everyone wants to become more like the Savior, but frankly sometimes it seems a bit daunting. I like this book because it encourages you to have a heart more like His, and it helps you do it in small ways that are actually effective. It invites the reader to make small changes in their day to day routine without having to change everything you are doing all at once. See Description Here